For Christina Applegate, it might be a little hard to tell if her life’s imitating her art or the other way around.
“I could've really done it had I not had a baby,” says Applegate of her NBC series “Up All Night,” which casts her and Will Arnett as a long-childless couple whose self-involved existence is suddenly upended by the arrival of their infant daughter. The actress herself is a new mom – she and fiancé Martyn LeNoble welcomed daughter Sadie earlier this year – and she says parenthood has made her not just better equipped for her new role, but a better performer altogether.
“I think once you have a baby your emotions are on your sleeve,” she tells PopcornBiz. “It's just much more accessible, finding whatever you need as an actor. They bring everything to the surface. So for me, definitely, I can pull quickly from that. I know what it feels like – and I can also bring storylines. I think that's something that I haven't been able to do when I've played a mother before: bring real-life experiences. [Series creator] Emily Spivey said there's a storyline coming up about something that I had mentioned to her about what goes on at our house. I'll come in and say, 'Hey, Emily, this happened last night with Sadie and this would be really, really funny if we did that.' The next thing I know it ends up in the rewrite.”
Applegate had to rewrite her own game plan when the series, which debuted last week, came her way. “I wasn't going to work at all,” she reveals. “I wanted to take a year off with my kid and then I met Emily and that's kind of how it happened.”
She says everyone’s drawing from their home lives: Applegate, Spivey, Arnett and co-star Maya Rudolph each have new additions in their families. “All of us have babies. Babies – we don't even have ‘kids.’ Everyone has a baby at home, and so we're all living the same life. We all come in the morning with dark circles under our eyes.” She explains that in some ways, the verisimilitude is not always helpful. “When you're working 16-hour days the last thing you want to feel like is crap. Luckily she's sleeping through the night now. I'll have had sleep, which will be nice.”
"Up All Night" airs Wednesday nights at 8 PM ET on NBC